Saturday, October 17, 2009

Living Simply

When eating simply begins to shape your habits around food, you start to look around you a little more and realize that living life simply is the answer to less stress, more time for quality in our relationships, and that less is more.

Well, I am currently reading, called "Living Simply With Children". A lot of things they suggest, we already do in our family. Family nights, game nights, movie nights, eating dinner together, making time for each other and many more are talked about in this book.

I highly suggest that if you are looking for some great ideas (and resources - suggested throughout the book) then you pick this one up. I know our local library has one but after reading only a couple of chapters I knew that I wanted to have this one to refer to in my home library (nothing grand, just a bookshelf or six throughout the house!).

Check out a sample of the book here.

What can you do to simplify your life today?

Live Well!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kids and Eating at School

I haven't written here in a long while. I find little time for extra-curricular stuff once the school year (and my part time teacher work) starts up. I have noticed a number of things about kids and their eating habits at school and wanted to talk a little about it here.

Before the bell goes in the morning: I see students in the school, snacking on slurpees, pop, candy and the like that they have purchased at a nearby store. When I comment about it, the usual remark is, "Who Cares, it tastes good." They have also mentioned that they need a sugar kick to be awake enough for class, somewhat like a number of friends and family members who need a caffeine kick first thing.

Recess snack: Gone are the days of a piece of fruit for recess. Now it is packaged goods, in wrappers that are polluting our landfills. I too have fallen prey to this as my daughter gets bugged about carrying around her tupperware during recess time when they are playing outside. So, a couple times a week I will throw in something that may have come in packaging...even though it's against my grain.

Instead of going outside in middle school, the kids sit in the classroom, stand in the hall or talk beside the vending machine. So they are eating junk before school, not so great snacks, and getting little or no exercise. Most are driven to school, and the only exercise they get in a day is their Phys. Ed. class.

At lunch, I have to admit that I'm somewhat impressed with about half of the lunches that the kids come into my classroom with. Most are balanced according to the "Canadian Food Guide", and are mostly "whole foods" but still about half of them are certainly not. Two or three come without lunches because they didn't feel like making one. Another five or six purchase their lunches from the cafeteria on average, and the choices there are not great, but supposedly improved from past years. You'll still see yam fries, slushies, and the like as they make loads of money from these things. Yam fries are better than the other fries they were serving only a few short years ago.

Where my challenge lies, is making lunches for my daughter. Although my family is not totally raw along with me, we do eat fruit for breakfast, and I usually give them vegetarian or vegan options for snack and lunch. It's difficult as in most schools, nut butters are banned. I actually asked her teacher if there were any allergies and if not, could she have nut butter and was told yes. I do use raw almond butter, macadamia nut butter, walnut butter also, as peanut butter is not my favourite to give. I also give her sprouts, avocado, salad, plantain chips, and some other "not so mainstream" items in her lunch. From the first day of school, she has been teased about these items and I'm at a loss as to how to change this without giving in to the "norm" for lunches. I see myself asking if "this item" will cause any ridicule, or if "that item" will cause heads to turn. Even with things I thought would not be a problem she comes home saying that she was teased again today.

I have tried to give her the tools to help, and she's really quite good about it, but I know that it's causing her some distress. I asked her how she thinks we can help the situation, and her ideas are great. First, I come to the class and do a raw food lesson with them and let them try the food. This way they will see that her "weird" food is actually tasty (they are not allowed to share lunches in class time due to allergy concerns, etc.). She also suggested teaching the parents at a parent meeting so they could make these foods for their kids. Another great idea. She also wants to open up the "Lizard Sauerkraut Cafe" in our house. She said that she tries to ignore it, but it doesn't seem to be going away. I spoke to the teacher regarding this, and to keep an eye out, but often the teachers are not in the room when kids are eating. She also said that there is no time for "extra-curricular" stuff like a raw food lesson as there is hardly time for the "core" subjects. So I'm kind of at a stand still with this.

Does anyone else have any suggestions?

Love to hear your take on things like this and if anyone else has experienced the same and what they did.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Busy in the Kitchen

So, it's that time of a few months and some of us over at the Raw Food Rehab unit are putting together a little Holiday e-book. I'll let you know when it's available!

In the meantime you can drool over a couple of my possible recipe submissions! The first is the Raw Nogg, The next is a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie and the third is a Minty Dark Cocoa.

This weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada and I have so much to be thankful for.

In early September we started "Gratitude and Attitude" journals with our kids. Each evening we ask the kids to tell us three things they are grateful for and one thing that they feel they can do better the next day. Some examples from their books include "Thankful for their family, our house, friends who speak nicely to us, their blankie", etc. I noticed that often they were relating thanks for people and experiences, not so much about material things which I feel is great!

Some things they say they can work on are listening the first time when being asked to do something, sharing better with each other, having a positive attitude when we have to leave an activity, etc.

It really has them thinking, and they are very appreciative children. I've also noticed that they are thankful during the day more as well for things that they would normally take for granted. So, on this Thanksgiving weekend, my suggestion to you is to start a Gratitude and Attitude Journal! It's amazing how much we are blessed with and we need to appreciate what we have NOW, and abundance and happiness will find us!

Three things I'm thankful for:

Normal tests that I had done at the Doctor's Office.
Appreciative friends
Children who make me laugh on a daily basis and make me SO proud with all they accomplish.

One thing I can improve on:

Staying calm, at all times.

How about you? What are you thankful for? What can you improve about your attitude?

Happy Thanksgiving!